Capturing time and giving it form: Nymphéa

Rofe, Michael (2011) Capturing time and giving it form: Nymphéa. In: Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK. ISBN 978-1-4094-2116-0

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Abstract / Summary

Kaija Saariaho is internationally recognised as a leading figure in contemporary music, attracting a refreshingly broad audience. In the first symposium book in English to be dedicated exclusively to this single figure, scholars from both the UK and Saariaho's native Finland bring a range of perspectives to her richly varied output. Uncovering the compositional, historical, cultural and sociological issues that have resulted in such critical acclaim lies at the heart of this collection of essays. I am co-editor of the book.

In my chapter, I discuss temporal structure in selected pieces. In a recent article, Kaija Saariaho reflected upon the act of composition that, “Music is purely an art of time, and the musician – with or without a composer – builds and regulates the experience of the speed of time passing. Time becomes matter in music; therefore composing is exploring time as matter in all its forms: regular, irregular. Composing is capturing time and giving it form.” Despite such clear interest in temporal process, hardly anything has been written about this vital dimension of Saariaho’s music. My chapter redresses this, exploring for the first time several means by which Saariaho controls the speed at which time is perceived to pass. A recent review in Finnish Music Quarterly, which demonstrates the international impact of the work, affirms that, ‘Michael Rofe shows that Saariaho builds her musical narratives not just between harmony and sonority but also between cyclical and linear conceptions of time’, concluding that the book as a whole will hopefully ‘reach a wide readership and have a long life span’.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBN: 978-1-4094-2116-0
Depositing User: Michael Rofe
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2013 14:20
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:02


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